What a body?
I have a body good to me, it seems, and that's because I'm me. I count among my properties and pretend to carry him on my full sovereignty. I think therefore unique and independent. But it is an illusion because there is no human society where it is believed that the body is worth by itself. Every body is created, not only by their fathers and mothers. It is not made by one who has it, but by others. No more in New Guinea, the Amazon or Africa than in Western Europe, it is thought as a thing. Instead, it is the particular form of relationship with the otherness that constitutes the person. Depending on the perspective of comparative anthropology adopted here is that other, respectively, the other sex, animal species, the dead or the divine (secularized in the modern age, in the teleology of living). Yes, my body is what reminds me that I find myself in a world populated by example, ancestors, gods, enemies or people of the opposite sex. My body really mine? It is he who I do not belong, I is not alone and that my destiny is to live in society.
224 pages 24 x 26 cm
240 color illustrations
retail price: 45 €
Co-published Branly / Flammarion
Stéphane Breton, anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, lecturer at the EHESS, member of the Laboratory of Social Anthropology (EHESS / CNRS / College de France). He has published several books including: TV, Grasset, 2005, the gender masquerade, Calmann-Lévy, 1994, Rivers still, Calmann-Lévy, 1994. He also directed three films, chronicles of past stays in the people of the Highlands of New Guinea, Wodan, and among the Kirghiz, broadcast on Arte: They and I, Les Films d'Ici & Arte, 2001; Heaven in a garden, Les Films d'Ici & Arte, 2003, was a silent, 2006.
Michele Coquet, anthropologist, researcher at CNRS, member of the Laboratory for Systems Thinking in Black Africa "(EPHE / CNRS)
Michael Houseman, anthropologist, director of Edudance at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, director of the Laboratory for Systems Thinking in Black Africa "(EPHE / CNRS)
Jean-Marie Schaeffer, philosopher, director of research at CNRS, Director of the Centre for Research on the arts and language (CNRS / EHESS)
Anne-Christine Taylor, an anthropologist and director of research at CNRS, member of the research team in Native American Ethnology
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, an anthropologist, professor of anthropology at the Museu Nacional do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, director of research associated with the research team in Native American Ethnology (CNRS).
What is a body?
For 18 months, a major exhibition of Anthropology deals with universal issues of relationships between men and is the culmination of a scientific research section.
West suspended Gallery (museum admission)
until September 23, 2007
What a body? To this question, the first major exhibition of Anthropology Branly offers an unexpected response.
It invites visitors to compare how the body and person are represented in four regions: West Africa, Western Europe, New Guinea and Amazonia. Against the typically Western idea of the body as the seat of an irreducible singularity, the team of anthropologists led by Stéphane Breton shows that no human society - including our own, despite what she thinks - does a body "private matter", an object strictly individual. Indeed, the body is understood by different people as a semi-finished product must be complete: it is the subject of a work, a "fabrication." "I'm not alone in my body: the body, the individual enters into a relationship with" something that is not itself ", which changes according to culture. The body is the locus of expression of a confrontation: male / female, living / nonliving, divine / image, human / non-human ... so many objections that are found in the productions ritual, social, art (sculptures , objects, images of the body ...) presented here.
What a body? edited by Stéphane Breton, 224 pages, co-published Branly / Flammarion, 45 €
the route of exposure
It revolves around four main areas that focus on a specific geographical area by providing each time a different view of this "other" as the body, namely, the dead for West Africa the divine for Europe, the other sex for New Guinea, and the animal kingdom for the Amazon.
1 - West Africa
the body and its double (the ancestors, the mythical founders and engineering of the jungle)
In societies of West Africa as the Dogon, Bambara, Senufo and Lobi, shaping the body is inseparable from the close relationship between the living to their ancestors, as guarantors of prosperity and fertility.
Furthermore, men worship the mythical beings who have founded the village of origin. These icons are embodied in the human figure sculptures.
The third, equally constitutive of the body, manifests itself through the genius of the bush, a kind of abstract and intangible spirit which, like other double exists before the body and survives him.
"The body is of the earth"
Man creates forms, altars consist of non-figurative elements from the earth and usually contained the ancestors.
"The newborn is a foreigner"
The newborn belongs to the world of ancestors and spirits. A number of rituals including circumcision and scarification led him to become a whole person.
"Game of mirrors"
The sculpture reflects the image of mythical figures copies. The nobility of attitude, the attributes, insignia of power, wisdom and wealth, marks showing the power of participating fertility of the plastic quality of a work and its symbolic effectiveness.
The sculpture is so plastic and necessary counterpoint to inform or informal representation of ancestors and the invisibility of geniuses.
2 - Western Europe
body image is
In Christian Europe, the idea of the Incarnation, of which Christ is the perfect symbol, is fundamental. The man, according to this view, was created in the image and likeness of God and the body, instead of imitation, has become a sign and instrument of that relationship to the divine.
But in the modern world, partly de-Christianized, transcendence has taken other forms and is in the biological model, a new ideal of beauty.
This part of the exhibition, which focuses on different modes of representation of the body in the West, shows images often degraded or distorted, floating like platitudes in space. Faced with this virtual world, is one sculpture Romanesque work of the twelfth century which depicts Christ on the cross.
3 - New Guinea
In New Guinea, theories of procreation by which the embryo is formed by mixing the sexual substance of the father (sperm) and mother (blood), lead to the idea that the body is a compound male and female. The human being is fundamentally androgynous.
"Transformation content container"
The male body is a body content contrary to the female body is a body container.
If he wants to perpetuate itself, man must realize his own capacities Nursery, become a body comprising a body that contains something fruitful. This ambition is realized symbolically by the rites of initiation in which we use ritual sculptures depicting the transformation of the body content body containing.
In the Gulf of Papua, it is by devouring the male body asserts her femininity. In this way, the object becomes an object swallowed men embracing.
In the Sepik River region, the brackets and tubes phallic adorning ritual objects come together to transform the male body into a body of engulfment.
"The female body is the ideal male body"
And the ideal form of ritualized male body done is represented by a male ancestor female wearing a kilt, a crocodile or a monster of basketry in the world symbolically putting the boys through bleeding or excretion. It is a body whose matrix K provided the plastic model and becomes a social body, allowing fathers to perpetuate their son.
4 - Amazon
a body made of looks
In Amazonia, in the lowlands of South America, the body does not own form. It takes that imposed the special relationship maintained with such other matters according glances exchanged between the perceiver and that which is perceived.
Have a human body is a state which also depends on the relationship of predation.
Have a human body involves legal provisions in respect of his peers and non-human. These provisions included in the body is marked with the clothing and ornamentation.
The feathers of certain birds, for example, are intended to inform one possesses the capacity to live as a couple or "parents".
"Body of prey and predator"
Loneliness, weakness, sickness and death signal that our body has become a prey, a victim of predation invisible.
Become a predator, however, others see it as prey. This metamorphosis is indicated by the ornaments of teeth and claws, by paintings, by the singular behavior.
The spirits are often evidenced by predators masks or human trophies. These effigies, always provided with eyes and fangs, materialize the body of nonhuman animated hostile disposition towards the living.
in connection with the exhibition ...
... showcases some of the trail's permanent exhibition to discover.
A fine Bamana sculpture is made only in the AF window 028, another is shown alongside two other female statuettes Dogon and Mossi in the window AF029.
AF 030 with the windows of the Senufo statuary, and AF 061 with a large selection of sculptures Lobi will extend the visit.
The window has two hooks 004 OC and a board-related malu rite of passage for young men and showcase OC contains only 005 hooks. We find a hook with a mask in the window OC 008. A series of long-nosed masks is also visible in the window 024 0C while the OC showcase 023 features statues of ancestors of clans which an interesting betel mortar.
Showcases AM 020 and AM 023 offer under a wide range of ornaments of feathers. 022 AM The showcase contains a single large cap mojo Bolivia impresses with its rich colors.
what a body?
Commissioner General of exposure: Stephane BRETON
design: Frédéric Druot